Farming community rallies round boy with rare illness

The farming community has rallied behind a young, tractor-mad boy who has been diagnosed with a rare illness.

Harry Lincoln started to feel unwell with a headache and a fever, but his condition worsened and he was rushed to hospital.

The doctors suspected the five-year-old had contracted meningitis, but he was later diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis, a rare but serious condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the brain.

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Harry is recovering from his illness in hospital and has started to make small improvements.

Katie Willow, a friend of the family, who farm in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, told Farmers Weekly: “Harry is working hard on his physio, so does have some movement back in his arms. But he is still unable to talk or walk yet.” 

His parents, Tess and Tom, have asked farmers to send their “get well soon” messages to Harry to help him in his recovery.

Ms Willow said: “Harry is mad about tractors and loves being on his parents’ farm. If you ask him what he wants to be when he is older he will say farmer.

“We have been trying to get friendly farmers to send Harry a get well soon message and lots of pictures of tractors and farming machinery to pass the time while Harry is in hospital.

“Seeing the pictures and videos from everyone helps to put a smile on his face as he is a bit frustrated with his lack of mobility.”

Harry’s story has touched the hearts of the farming community with dozens of farmers leaving heartfelt videos and message of support on social media.

Outpouring of support

Former international rugby referee turned farmer, Nigel Owens, said in a video sent to Farmers Weekly: “Harry, I know that you haven’t been too well recently, so I am sending you my very best wishes… Take care, buddy!”

NFU president Minette Batters tweeted: “I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been poorly Harry. Get well soon from everyone at the NFU and a massive high five from me.”

Harry’s mum Tess has thanked the farming community for their well wishes and messages of support.

Writing on Facebook, she said: “What a fantastic community we have in the farming world. He has started to regain some movement, which is just so exciting.

“He knows we’re about to start harvest so that’s his incentive to keep fighting it.”

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